The difference between professional and amateur portraits can be vast. So Akil Bennett – Houston Best Wedding Photographers compiled a list of 10 of the most important photography tips for any wedding photographer to know. I’ll show you the basics of aperture, shutter speed and lens choice, focusing and photo composition techniques, before showing you how to use natural light and reflectors to improve your results.
When to use Exposure Compensation
A common photography problem is when shooting portraits light skin tones is under-exposed portraits. To brighten up subjects use Aperture Priority mode.
Increase it up to +1 stop of positive Exposure Compensation to lighten up the faces
It’s best to set a wide aperture (f/2.8-f/5.6) to capture a shallow depth of field, so the background behind your subject is nicely blurred, making them stand out better.
Shutter speed settings
When setting shutter speed, consider in your lens’s focal length otherwise blurred results will become an issue. As a general rule, make sure your shutter speed is higher than your effective focal length. For example, at 200mm use a 1/250 sec shutter speed or faster.
Increase your ISO
People move around a lot as they’re photographed and there’s nothing worse than a photo of somebody half-blinking instead of smiling! To avoid these problems, and to prevent motion blur appearing, you’ll need to use a fast shutter speed.This will also help to ensure sharp shots and avoid camera-shake because more often than not you’ll be shooting portraits handheld.While in Aperture Priority mode and maintaining a wide aperture, to increase your shutter speed simply increase your ISO (ISO100 to ISO400).In low light, you may need to increase it to ISO800, 1600 or 3200
Your choice of lens has a big impact on your portrait photos. A wide-angle (around 18mm) lens captures a wider angle of view, so more of your subject’s surroundings will be in shot.
Don’t be lazy with your compositions. Very often photographers stand back, thinking it’s best to include all, or at least the top half of their subject.
But remember to make sure your focusing is as precise as possible.
Use a reflector
The best way to brighten up your portraits and to give them a professional look is to use a reflector. Use them indoors (near windows) or outdoors to bounce light back onto your subjects to fill in unwanted shadows.
Focusing your camera
When using wide apertures (especially f/2.8 or faster), your depth of field decreases, so it is important that your focusing is bang on, otherwise you could end up with out-of-focus facial features; the person’s nose may be sharp but the eyes soft.
Posing for portraits
How your subject stands, poses and looks will have a impressive effect on your results. A minor change in facial expression such as whether they smile or not can radically change the entire feeling of the photograph.
Get artistic with flash lighting
Flashgun, remote triggers and a good-sized diffuser, you open up the possibility of a enormous display of clever and cool lighting set-ups.